There are many heroes surrounding the birth of Jesus.  Certainly, the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph responded with uncommon, heroic graciousness to God’s unexpected invitation to be the mother and father of Jesus. They were well aware that something miraculous had taken place which allowed Mary to conceive and bear a son without “having known man.”   

But perhaps the unsung heroes of today are the shepherds who also trusted the messages of angels.  The shepherds took this divine prompting so seriously that they traveled to Bethlehem to see “this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”  Maybe they even brought their flocks of sheep with them!  

As we ponder the mystery of how God heals a broken world from the “inside out” through the incarnation of God’s love in Jesus, may we, like the shepherds, listen to the voices of angels in our prayer, and may these divine promptings help us to notice, savor and celebrate God’s healing, reconciling grace and love at work in our world.

—Fr. Brian Paulson, S.J. is the provincial of the Midwest Jesuits.




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